Argentina approves Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

FILE PHOTO: Vials of the Sinopharm’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine are pictured in Lima, Peru, February 9, 2021. REUTERS/Sebastian Castaneda/File Photo

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina’s drug regulator has authorized the emergency use of Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine ahead an expected delivery of 1 million doses of the Chinese-made jab.

The country, which was rattled in recent days by a VIP vaccine scandal that led to the resignation of the health minister, is ramping up its inoculation program, which has so far been largely built around Russia’s Sputnik V.

The office of President Alberto Fernandez said that 1 million doses of the Chinese vaccine, which requires two doses per person, were expected to arrive in the South American country in the next few days.

“This will be a new vaccine that our country will have as part of the national government’s prevention strategy in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” the government said.

Argentina, which has a population of about 45 million, has so far received 1.22 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine from the Russian Gamaleya Institute and 580,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine, manufactured by the Indian Serum Institute and developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

The country’s new Health Minister Carla Vizzotti, who was sworn in on Saturday, has pledged to strengthen oversight and transparency of the inoculation program.

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